Make a list. It's time to go grocery shopping. Where are we buying? How much do we spend? What do we spend it on? What are we cooking? Are we health-conscious? Diet-conscious? What are our general philosophies about food? I traveled to six supermarkets in six different neighborhoods and questioned 20-odd local shoppers about their shopping habits. This is what they said.
- Whole Foods, Hillcrest, Monday, 1 p.m.
- Grace Fisher, 30
- Spent $150 today.
Cooks for two, husband and self.
"This week, I'll cook a couple of chicken dishes and a tenderloin dish. I get my recipes either online or out of Cooking Light magazine.
"I grew up on health food (in Santa Cruz), and I read about the nutritional values in foods pretty closely.
"I don't do coupons, and I only make lists if I'm trying a new recipe.
"I go down every aisle and make sure I don't forget anything.
"We grill a lot. But I have to say that we like variety: chicken, fish, lamb, pork, beef.
"I have a few favorite recipes. I have a stuffed chicken that I like to make. I sauté chicken, mushrooms, and shallots, blend it up in a food processor, and then mix it with fat-free ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. And then you poke a hole in the chicken breast, stuff all that in there, sauté it in a pan, and then there's a sauce that I put on top of it.
"I cook about four nights a week, and we go out the rest.
"I also shop at Trader Joe's. I come to Whole Foods weekly, every Monday, and I go to Trader Joe's about every other week.
"I buy about 80 percent organic. I try to buy all organic, unless there's just something I need that I can't find."
- Jake Tison, 37
- Banker's Hill
- Video producer
- Shopping with wife Suzanne and daughter Lily.
- Spent $35 today.
- Spends $60 to $80 a week.
"We shop once or twice a week, and at Whole Foods about once a month.
"We also shop at Henry's, Trader Joe's, and at the Hillcrest farmers' market.
"We read vitamin panels and are very health-conscious, because my wife and daughter are vegetarians. I'm a vegetarian at home.
"We use a lot of soy. That's what we were buying here today: a ton of fake meat.
"You can make all sorts of things. Spaghetti sauce, chimichangas; it doesn't matter. Whatever you'd do with meat, you can do with soy.
"Suzanne's a vegetarian for moral reasons, and has been since she was a teenager.
"It's much easier now to be a vegetarian, with all the foods available.
"Our favorite recipes are stir-fries and pastas.
"We like to eat, but we don't like to cook that much. But we eat in almost seven nights a week. We hardly ever go out."
Housewife, singer, and part-time paralegal
Spent $350 today.
Spends about $1200 a month on groceries.
Cooks for a family of four: husband, self, and two kids.
Cooks dinner about six times a week.
"Today I got ingredients for pea soup, a vegetable stir-fry, and a couple pasta dishes.
"I'm really good at making roast lamb. It's kind of my specialty dish. I baste the lamb leg with olive oil, cinnamon, garlic, lots of fresh herbs, walnuts, soy sauce, and teriyaki, and then I roast it in the oven for a few hours.
"I shop at Whole Foods and OB People's Food. These are gourmet markets that carry specialty items and organic foods. I also go to the farmers' markets. We spend about $300 on food every week.
"If you went through my basket, you'd see mostly whole foods that are outside of a can and outside of a jar. I'm very health-conscious.
"Standing behind these people in line at the checkouts in a lot of supermarkets, I get this impression of 'nothing living.' But I think the idea behind our food should be that it should capture as much of the sun as possible. Instead, most of it is designed for shelf-life instead of nutritive value. That's why I only eat organic. I try to eat something living that can transmute into my life. But most food today -- with preservatives and corn syrups and stuff like that -- is more of a deficit to your body than an enhancement."
- Woni Spotts, 42
- Little Italy
- Works in e-commerce, selling merchandise online
- Spent $106 today.
- Shops once a week for about $100.
Lives alone, prepares food for herself, but doesn't cook. Only eats raw food.
"I only shop at Whole Foods, but I also order food online from specialty raw-food websites.
"I'm eating raw food only now, so I have to go to the places that have the best variety of foods. I started eating raw about six months ago. I was vegetarian for a while and got a good boost from that, and then I was vegan and got a bigger boost, so now I'm raw and I'm getting a better boost. And I can't go any further, I don't think.
"I eat at home almost always, but I don't cook anything, of course. I usually make a big salad with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, sprouts, avocado, dates, and baby vegetables that are tender and don't need to be cooked.
"And then I have some raw bread that I buy. That's a specialty item that I get online, because I've only found one company that makes a raw bread that's edible.
"And I'll also have fresh fruit, of course, and nuts and nut butters, and fresh juices and smoothies throughout the day.
"I manage to stay chubby, you know, so it can't be that bad.
"I had a favorite raw-food restaurant in New York City, and I have them FedEx me some specialty items sometimes, but I haven't really found any places out here in San Diego yet. But I've only lived here about a month."
Albertson's, North Park, Monday,